Pick up and Delivery

Quickly but gently Pinch said and the three of us downloaded a dozen boxes from the plane into the yellow Hummer. The work done Pinch and I stood between the Hummer and the helicopter and watched the airplane take off and swoop west and over the hills. I was to drive back to the schoolhouse where we would unload the boxes. Pinch would follow me from the air in the helicopter. What about Sylvie, I asked. What about her? She said you’d be a good delivery man. The boxes were all the same, the size of a case of wine, and weighed something like six bottles of wine each, I guessed, but they must have been packed exceptionally well because I didn’t hear any glass as we shifted them from the plane to the Hummer. Unmarked, tightly taped, thick cardboard boxes. Was there a black market for wine? I asked myself. I was on a country road, the helicopter visible, crisscrossing above me, but when the road narrowed and curved and passed under a canopy of trees growing near the river I pulled over and cleanly cut open one of the boxes. Bottles, labels taped to each with handwritten numbers and letters and dates, not commercial labels, but coding that might have been winery production information. I removed one bottle and stuck it under my seat and pulled back onto the road and saw the helicopter again above and ahead of me. At Pinch’s place I pulled into the backyard and he was waiting and we carried the boxes into the covered back porch and he told me to put the bottle I’d taken back in its box. It’s not wine, he said. It’s medicine. You don’t want to drink it. Or talk about it.

“Pick up and Delivery” is episode 75 of Inventories, a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.

Sylvie’s Dream of Counterpoise

Desultory. Defunct. Deconstruction. Debunk. Defunct. Deride. Decide. Depot Bay. 

Sylvie dreamt an invisible wave of counterpoise forced all mortals to wear masks covering nose and mouth. Thus individual identity, what Freud called the id, was lost, and people would have to look into one another’s eyes when speaking and could only speak truth. Those refusing to wear a mask would be called liars and deniers and would be subject to debunking. Society would be detoxed of retail. Skilled jobs would return, though no one would be forced to work, and those who chose to work would not commute but work from home in building and making useful tools and items and providing useful services for daily life. One person might make beer, another shoes, another tiny houses. Another would keep the books. A livable wage would be guaranteed for every citizen of every country. The wave of counterpoise would cause disruption through widespread removals and reversals, humans moving down and away from commercialized statuses. Some would move literally underground. Already people were reinhabiting the Seattle Underground. Others were moving onto beaches or into the woods or turning abandoned malls into suburban campgrounds. Society would be deconstructed. Education would be deschooled. Police systems would be demilitarized and decentralized. Mortals would lose interest in their personal DNA and the social status of individual ancestry. It wouldn’t signify where one came from. The elderly would not be forced into retirement, but would assist with the care and teaching of the young, in growing community gardens, in making music, in writing and reading. Health care would be available to all and its underlying purpose would be health and not medicine. Cities would grow quieter, people moving around less, walking and biking, riding open air busses, trams, and light rail. Many things people had long taken for granted would disappear. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity would return. As would civil disobedience. People would be responsible for their own entertainment. When I asked Sylvie how this counterpose, as she called it, was to come about, she said she did not know, but had awakened too soon. At the end of her dream, she was swimming with the whales off Depot Bay.

“Sylvie’s Dream of Counterpoise”
is episode 12 of
Ball Lightning
a Novel in Progress
in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.
(Click link for continuous, one page view of all episodes.)

Banana Yellow Sunrise

About fell asleep waiting on doctor to come
under beguiling wall poster of limbic system.

“I’m going to give you three words, and I’ll ask
for them back before we’re done.”

I repeated each word after her:
yellow – yellow; banana – banana;

sunrise – sunrise. Then she moved
for the cuff and I rolled up my sleeve

and she asked how Susan was doing.
Sunsee, sunsaw, I thought about

Buckminster Fuller’s neologisms,
and also considered the possibility

the doctor had given me not three
but four words, sunrise compound,

two words in one meaning. There
was a time I might have discussed

this with her, but no more. I felt
my arm swell as the cuff tightened.

Had I fallen in the last year? No,
not that I could recall, small smile.

Trying to keep her three words
top of mind, I inverted them:

banana yellow sunshine, locking
them together as a descriptive

phrase, cleverly reducing work
from three chores to one.

How many beers did I drink
in a week’s time? Finally, she asked

for the three words back,
catching me off guard.

She sat quite close to me,
her face to mine, and I saw

her nonplussed, and I knew
something was wrong.

As I left her office to go down
to the lab to leave some blood,

I thought about the difference
between sunrise and sunshine,

sunshine like adding a 7th
to a sunrise triad.






Cyberpunk

Round ears curl silver coils of sounds,
across nose stands glass bridge in worm-fog,
always under construction.

Every sense a degree, and digression, and distraction.

This is technology:
rubber sneakers, cotton threads,
titanium screw implants capped
with fool’s gold.

Then that hardened heart
lumbering loose without nails
full of sloth a snail’s shake
ebbs & flows fickling & flicking
comes & goes riding the tides
like a pickle on smooth ocean
swells rising then falling
oily muscle lifting and dropping
off to sleep, surly salty
heart pickled in hope chest,
just like a human heart.